Crocs and barra on move in Top End’s big wet 


The unrelenting rainfall engulfing the Top End in the current wet season will mean that crocodiles and barramundi will be inhabiting areas outside their norm, according to a recent study.

The Tropical Rivers and Coastal Knowledge (TRaCK) program, based at Charles Darwin University, has published findings from a three-year study investigating how the Top End’s rivers naturally flow, and what drives their healthy ecology and functioning.

A TRaCK researcher based at the University of Western Australia, Dr Neil Pettit, said that as the Top End flooded barra and crocs would be on the move.

“Barramundi and crocodiles use wet-season flows to move between estuaries and the river, and between the river and the floodplains,” he said.

“The monsoon seasons of northern Australia have a huge effect on what animals and plants live where and when.”

Dr Pettit said that as had been the case so far this wet, longer flood periods would provide an opportunity for floodplains to boost plant growth.

“Floodplains such as those in Kakadu National Park are likely to remain flooded for many months, meaning barramundi and crocodiles could move to remote parts of rivers where they’re not usually found,” he said.

“We’ve recorded abundant plant growth to permanent waterholes and an opportunity for aquatic animals to move through the river and re-populate different reaches to that of previous wet seasons.”